Sydney and Canberra Lockdown walks, Reid’s Tiny Farm and spring is in the air…

My brother, Neil lives in Sydney and every morning, regardless of the weather, he walks with a small group of like-minded guys who are up early…usually a bit before dawn.

Sydney and Canberra are in Lockdown, and residents are allowed two hours of exercise (close to home) every day in both cities. Bondi beach, and the cliffs beyond make for ever changing views of the city and the beach, especially at dawn. How very lucky they are to have these views, at any time, but especially during a Lockdown period.

One of the walkers, Tim Read, regularly takes photos with various cameras, and has kindly allowed me to show these two. Many thanks Tim.

Bondi Beach and the Tidal Pool (Photos by Tim Read: All Rights Reserved)

Although Sydney is only a four hour drive away from Canberra, our climates are very different . I often envy my brother his walks as I sit shivering in my study in Canberra in winter and spring. However, our compensation is spring!

This year we had a long cold and rainy winter, and it was lovely to see the blossoms finally arrive on the plum tree..

and the almond tree..

The Wattle trees Paul planted a few years ago are enthusiastically flowering in the new garden.

We have become philosophical about the amount of blossoms lost to the birds…

In fact the King Parrot feeds on blossoms just above us, as we sit on the deck having coffee, blossoms raining down like confetti.

The Galahs look like Australian State Premiers trying to decide on a pathway out of this pandemic.

Canberra’s suburbs are surrounded by paths and bushland, and during these Lockdown periods many Canberrans have joined the Facebook Wildlife photography group, and are publishing a wide range of colourful parrots and birds.

A Crimson Rosella in a Eucalyptus tree

We live in one of the outer suburbs of Canberra, and McQuoids Hill, a nature park nearby, has become a very popular walking destination since Lockdown.

This landscape is very similar to the landscape of my childhood and that of my brothers, in Central Africa.

Paul in the distance walking down McQuoit Hill

We have only seen kangaroos on walks in this area, but people regularly take photos of Wallaroos (a cross between a wallaby and a kangaroo) so I’ll try to get a photos of them.

Kangaroos must be curious as to the increased human traffic on these paths.
Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are everywhere..

During winter we read an inspiring local story about Dimity May who has started a small business growing local organic seedlings tailored to our Canberra market. She called it Reid Tiny Farm. (Dimity was born and raised in Reid, a suburb of Canberra.)

Dimity May with some of her organic seedlings and vegetables..(Photo: Canberra Times)

Dimity had always been passionate about organic products, and has a Permaculture Design Certificate at Allsun Farm at Gundaroo. Later she completed a market gardener masterclass developed by a renowned farmer and regenerative agricultural advocate Jean Martin, based in Quebec. (an online course mainly for professional growers)

seedling -raising cocoon tunnel from Active Vista Tasmania (Photo Canberra Times)

She’s had a challenging start to her business, with baking hot days last year, followed by torrential rain this year. However she has moved her business to Pialligo’s Garden Lots, and now has a seedling-raising cocoon tunnel purchased from Active Vista in Tasmania. Dimity’s father built the frames for the seedlings. The whole family is involved in her business, and hopefully they can continue to help her during this Lockdown.

At the start of 2020 Dimity began growing seedlings organically and has gradually developed her business. Now a subscriber can get a small or large box of seasonal seedlings four times a year.

We had subscribed to Dimity’s project during winter, and when she emailed to say our spring seedlings were ready, we were thrilled… it was just in time to start planting new seedlings and, chance to get out of the house!

Unfortunately it was teeming down with rain the morning we went to get our seedings, so I haven’t yet taken any photos of Dimity and her surroundings, or the polytunnel.

However, here is our bounty! We chose to buy a small box of seedlings (4 boxes a year, one for every season) and this spring the seedlings we have are; beetroot, radish, broccoli, cos lettuce, red butterhead lettuce, English spinach, cabbage and pak choi. (some we have given to neighbours.)

Our seedlings look very healthy and happy, and in between the seedlings we have some small plastic white butterflies to chase away real white cabbage moth/butterflies.

Dimity has, on her website, a quote by Martin Fortier (a farmer educator and award winning author) and this quote seems just right for Dimity’s business.

What we need is food grown with care by and for people who care.

Thank you for visiting my blog today, and I hope everyone can enjoy a bit of sunshine and small pleasures during these uncertain times.

Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.

17 Replies to “Sydney and Canberra Lockdown walks, Reid’s Tiny Farm and spring is in the air…”

  1. Great to read that you are managing to find some enjoyment despite lockdown. I loved your pictures of blossom, just a distant memory for us.

    1. Thanks Susan. Yes, you have not had much of a summer, or so it seems from far away! I’m sure you will find some interesting sites and museums even as winter approaches! Hopefully public transport is not yet full capacity?

  2. This is a great read, Gerrie. I liked seeing your blossoms and views of your garden. The birds are fabulous, but I’m afraid I haven’t been very welcoming to the cockatoos which, though wonderful birds, are very cruel to my youngish trees and have broken a lot of branches.
    What a wonderful story about Dimity. I love to read about enterprising young people. She is obviously a great deal better than me at raising plants from seed
    I would also love to be able to do your walks. Canberra is very good in that way, with plenty of places to go to get exercise and enjoy nature. Have we seen the end of the cold weather, do you think? I hope so!

    1. Thanks Jane. I completely agree about the cockatoos, they have stripped all the beautiful pink blossoms from the street trees this year (because it is the first time in a few years the eucalyptus trees have blossomed so well).
      Yes I thought Dimity’s plants looked really good, and I think she is sold out for spring! I hope the cold weather is over, but I don’t think so!

  3. Lovely post…I’ve only been to Canberra once but really liked the city and the area around (we spent a whole day at Tidbinbilla). Love the idea of having access to those seedlings. All the best from Wellington.

  4. Your garden is really shouting out how happy it has been with all the rain you have had – could be pictures from a Country Garden glossy magazine! The bird life seems ever prolific in Canberra and what a joy to have time to sit on your deck, coffee in hand, to enjoy them.

    I am very taken with Dimity’s project. What a great idea to pick up your seasonal veggies already started in a cosy little box. Go Dimitar.

    1. Thanks Theresa, the garden and the fruit trees have just loved the rain. Yes, Dimity’s idea is such a good one, and we are very happy to buy four boxes of seedlings a year.

  5. Everything looks beautiful including those seedlings, and you know I’m always enthralled with your birds. Handsome feather friends they are, and I did not know they ate blossoms. I envy your brother and friends their walk on the beach with that view. I’ve been walking on the treadmill with a book to keep me company, which is definitely not the same. Great post, and I hope Dimity has success with her business.

    1. Thanks Judy…yes, in the middle of winter I certainly wish I was walking along Bondi beach! I love the idea of getting a box of seedlings every season, because I know the seedlings have had a good start. I think Dimity may be sold out of her spring seedlings already.

  6. Gorgeous photos of the beach and also the colourful birds with which you are so blessed. Dimity sounds like a true entrepreneur and I’m sure that with the help of her family, she will make a great success off her business. There’s nothing quite like home grown veggies. I love the name ‘Wallaroo’ and of course had to look for some photos on Google. They’re really cute. 🙂

    1. Thanks Sylvia, the beach really does look inviting in the early morning, and it was a great shot by Tim. Dimity is doing well, and she will probably need a second polytunnel soon!

    1. Thanks Ross, I thought Tim’s photo showed a side of Bondi rarely seen anymore, an uncrowded beach! Yes, Paul and I and often think the landscape around here reminds us of some part of South Africa.

  7. Love the photo of Bondi beach, your brother is lucky to live so close. Your blossom is varied and so very delicate and pristine. As always I did enjoy your birds and kangaroos. Love Dimity’s business, how lovely it will be receiving a different box each season. Here’s hoping the whites keep off your

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